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on 26 August 2017
Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm is a great addition to your strategy gaming collection if you really enjoyed playing Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty.

Pros:

Remains extremely similar to the original Starcraft, while still making many improvements to gameplay elements
Enjoyable, lengthy campaign
Story campaign has well designed 'hub' elements where you can upgrade units, etc.
Some new units not present in Wings of Liberty
Great graphics, sound & music (you can choose to play using the original or the new soundtrack, both are fantastic)
Difficult gameplay that requires thinking and fast reaction speed
3 cool races to play in custom matches
Great online gameplay

Cons:

It is literally more of the exact same gameplay - if you really loved Wings of Liberty then you should buy this game, however, if you only thought it was 'decent' then it's probably worth skipping
Can be difficult for players new to the genre, or even just new to Starcraft (multiplayer is pretty brutal / steep learning curve)
Story is Zerg only - you must buy the other two campaigns separately to play those races in their respective story / campaign modes
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on 7 September 2014
Took ages to decide if I should buy this add on. So glad I did, it is so good being the Zerg new units and upgrades were very good. If your starcraft 2 installation is up to date you do not need to install the game as it is already part of the starcraft 2 program, all you need is your CD KEY to activate the add on, which is a great idea. The story is great the video sequences are brilliant, for an expansion in my opinion it is worth every penny. Can't wait to the Protoss expansion when its released.
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on 20 April 2013
I enjoyed the first part (Wings of Liberty), and was looking forward to the expansion. Really like this game - note that I play campaign only, and am no expert.

Good bits:
* Loved the story - thought the cinematics told an interesting story
* Engaging gameplay - like the way the Zerg play different tactics to the Terrans
* Good graphics & controls are easy to learn (though not to master)

No so good:
* Normal setting was too easy, I'm no expert but finished most missions first time
* Too easy to adapt a 'select all' .. 'attack!' gameplay style. I didn't bother with the more complex units except in missions when they were required, usually all you need is a zergling rush - which is fine, but I would have liked more challenge.
* Graphics are a bit glitchy - sometimes need to Alt-Tab away & back to recover display (quite rare)

Anyway, now I get to play through on a higher difficulty - and might even try some multi-player. Now where's the next episode!
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on 1 October 2013
After having played through Wings of Liberty I couldn't wait to play this next installment! It didn't disappoint either. Originally I was a bit sceptical about playing as the Zerg as I thought they were a bit more difficult to handle compared to the 'building queues' of the Protoss and Terran forces. But the way the controls were explain during each level of this game soon altered my opinion. With a fantastic story line, good character development and exciting gameplay, I just had to spend hour after hour following each mission up with playing the next one until saddly reaching the end. Waiting eagerly for the third installment! Unto the breach dear Kerrigan!
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on 13 May 2013
Don't understand why this is so much more expensive direct from Blizzard! Great add on to WoL, IMO the campaign was very weak story-wise, the evolution missions have no real reason to exist (would promote a second playthrough if you only got to try one variant of a unit!), and overall the whole campaign is way too easy, but then I'm sure that varies. As a game, though, it adds a whole new dynamic in whatever they call Skirmish in this game, plus honestly it was fun and I'll probably play through again. For reference, I'm an OK-ish player, played through on Hard with only 1 reload where I wasn't paying attention on a mid-level mission, but I don't really play against other people because it's just so stressful!! I know, I know, I'll have to get over it...
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on 4 April 2013
It's been 15 years since the release of the original StarCraft, and the Heart of the Swarm expansion ensures it stays as the best RTS game you can find.

If you have never heard of StarCraft before it can be briefly summed up as follows: It is a complex MMO RTS game set in a fictional space age universe where 3 races of different design, Terran, Protoss and Zerg, are able to be played against each other. It has a story mode that gradually introduces the player to the game's units, buildings and basic strategies and a multiplayer system for player-versus-player combat. StarCraft also has a vibrant eSports community and there is a lot of depth to the game beyond the campaign. If you enjoy a competitive atmosphere then this title could be for you.

Most obvious with this release is the brand new campaign spanning 20 missions where you play as Sarah Kerrigan, the psionic human-turned-zerg overlord, who is able to manipulate the Zerg swarm to her cause. The missions are good fun and can be played on a variety of different skill levels, and the story is easy to follow though some have criticised it for not being intellectually challenging and containing holes in its plausibility. I have to say at this point that I adore the voice acting talent in this release, the Zerg characters mesh really well with the overall feel of the story. The gameplay in the campaign is a mixtures of RTS and RPG elements. Sometimes you only control Kerrigan and must complete objectives using her powerful abilities and sometimes you gain access to a variety of the Zerg arsenal. Having previously played Zerg in Wings of Liberty, I think the campaign is a decent introduction to the Zerg race and many new players should feel relatively comfortable going forward into multiplayer, should they wish to do so, with the skills they develop during the missions. However it must be noted that a number of abilities in the campaign, such as the queen's heal, are different when switching to multiplayer.

Blizzard have tried to widen it's appeal to both the casual and hardcore communities by introducing a number of features that address issues they had with Wings of Liberty. The new clan features are great if you play with friends or want to meet like-minded individuals, if you often play solo then this update won't mean much to you. Extra rewards have been added that are unlockable by gaining experience through the online ladder, presumably to encourage players to have a go at the multiplayer pvp and ensure they feel they are being rewarded for their play. Lots of new maps have been added as well as new tilesets.

Despite receiving some visual upgrades it's still not aesthetically extravagant, but then it doesn't really need it. The gameplay has been knocked up another notch with the addition of new units and overall everything feels really fun right now. Having played a few games online it seems fairly balanced and there doesn't seem to be any overwhelming strategies storming the ladders (though widow mines are popular right now).

I've given this review 5 stars because I'd started to get bored with Wings of Liberty at the end of 2012, but this expansion has rekindled my love for the game.
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on 16 May 2013
Well as you need the first game to get this you probaly know what to expect and just want to know if it is worth it, well yes it is.
New things include the evolution missions, where you can evolve your units to a choice of 2 forms. the missions themselves are not great to do this but then your units have an additional upgrade,
I do not think these upgrades can be used in multiplayer games or even skirmish games.
The menu is the worst part of the upgrade, to start with I couldnt figure out how to make a vs Ai game but m almost certain that the system has changed even if you do not have the add on pack. The Zerg were always the most fun to play with and It is woth the price as yes it is almost the price of a whole game but you do get a whole game in content.
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on 10 July 2014
Arrived promptly, and in excellent condition.

This is essentially just authorisation information, and takes up approximately 50MB of size on the actual disc, which feels considerably cheaper than the Wings of Liberty set.

As the expansion is downloaded through battle.net, I see no benefits to purchasing the disc above purchasing a licensing key; except where the disc is often cheaper.

The campaign for the game is considerably better than WoL, and enjoys some excellent gameplay modes, which make it considerably more fun.

Multiplayer has become - at least iny opinion - a horribly stale mess, which will hopefully be resolved in short time, but likely won't see improvement before Legacy of the Void.
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on 26 August 2013
For a StarCraft fan the games coming out in 3 instalments is both a blessing and a curse in that you are desperate to play more and find out what happened next but also have something more to look forward to every couple of years.

Although (unpopularly) the Zerg are not my favourite faction of the game the single player storyline managed to help me forget that as I became so engrossed with the character development and overriding story arch as well as the background of the Zerg which to this point had been something of a mystery. However if you are a true StarCraft fan you will know that multiplayer is where it's at.

The addition of new units and abilities manages to change up the game significantly without causing issues to balances of the different factions, leading to a different experience to Wings of Liberty.

For a RTS fan or even just someone who enjoys a good ol' fashioned Sci-fi romp I would recommend Heart of the Swarm (providing you have played 'Wings of Liberty' first!)

5 Stars
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on 12 July 2015
Absolutely love it, reminds me of command and conquer in so many ways, I prefer this to the first starcraft because for me there is more action and I get to play a female. I love the storyline and the movies in the game to just wish you didn't have to go through the first mission everytime you ply through again.
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